Senator David Sater’s Capitol Report for the Week of April 3: Fighting for the Unborn

Sater - Capitol Report Banner - 010913 copy

JEFFERSON CITY — There is probably not a more hotly debated or polarizing issue in the American political dialogue right now than abortion. In that debate, pro-abortion advocates use sanitized language and conjure up what-if situations to distract from the real issue: abortion is a matter of life and death – plain and simple. If we need a reminder of this, we should look no further than this statistic: nearly 60 million abortions have been performed since Roe v. Wade. That’s 60 million children never given a chance, 60 million children who will never experience the joys and trials of life, and 60 million children denied their right to life we are all guaranteed by the U.S. Constitution.

Being staunchly pro-life, pro-life legislation has been a big part of my work in the Missouri Senate. Three years ago, I passed Missouri’s 72-hour waiting period law. The year before that, I passed legislation that protects pharmacies from stocking and selling abortifacient drugs. Two years ago, I passed a bill that creates a dedicated funding stream for pregnancy resource centers and alternative-to-abortion organizations. Recognizing this issue for what it really is means we should try to do something about it and that is exactly what many members of the Missouri General Assembly are doing.

This week saw a series of important pro-life bills debated in the Senate. First, on Monday, Sen. Wayne Wallingford, R-Cape Girardeau, presented Senate Bill 41. This is a bill filed in response to a St. Louis city ordinance, passed a few months ago, targeting pregnancy resource centers and maternity homes. For those who don’t know, these facilities offer free counseling and services to pregnant women in need or provide free housing to pregnant women and their children. In effect, the ordinance would deny these facilities of their First Amendment rights by penalizing them for refusing to hire someone who would work against their goal of helping women to bring their pregnancies to full term. These penalties would include up to $500 in fines and 90 days in jail. Senate Bill 41 would preempt cities, counties and other political subdivisions of the state from enacting laws that interfere with the speech, religious practices or right to assemble of alternatives-to-abortion agencies and their staff and volunteers. This bill is an important defense of the First Amendment rights of these facilities in their noble work of protecting the lives of unborn children in Missouri.

Another bill that was debated this week is one from Sen. Bob Onder, R-Lake Saint Louis, the “Women’s Health and Clinic Safety Act”. Many will remember a few years ago when videos surfaced showing Planned Parenthood employees and executives discussing the harvesting and selling of the body parts of unborn children. It was shocking and disturbing and highlighted shortcomings in state law in preventing these horrible acts. The fact is, there is no record keeping and nobody knows what happens to an aborted child at Planned Parenthood. Senate Bill 67 would ensure the body parts of aborted children are not sold or harvested, provides whistleblower protections to abortion clinic employees who report wrong doing, and requires annual inspections of abortion clinics.

Another bill is currently on the Senate calendar and could come up for debate in the coming weeks. It is my Senate Bill 96, prohibiting abortions based solely on a diagnosis of Down Syndrome. A recent academic study found that up to 90 percent of Down Syndrome children in the womb are ultimately aborted. This is a troubling and unacceptable trend. Society is more and more embracing empathy and understanding of our most vulnerable and those with disabilities. Shouldn’t that extend to the whole spectrum of life, starting with children in the womb? Ending the life of an unborn child diagnosed with Down Syndrome is a form of eugenics and is discrimination. These children are persons worthy of dignity and worthy of life and deserve better.

We should be proud of our efforts in Missouri to protect life. Missouri is No. 1 in the country with the fewest abortion clinics per female residents of reproductive age (15-44) and is the largest of the top five states with the lowest abortion rates in the country. Missouri also has one of the largest funding commitments of the states that fund alternatives-to-abortion. Our work is not done, though. We will continue to fight for the unborn and the bills you read about above are the front lines. I appreciate your support in these efforts and assure you I will not stop fighting.

As always, I welcome your ideas, questions and concerns about Missouri government. You may contact me at the State Capitol as follows: (573) 751-1480, or by writing to Sen. David Sater, Missouri State Capitol, Room 416, Jefferson City, MO 65101.